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On reading and writing

Posted On : December 14 2017

Writer : Tashneem Ali Chaudhury

Tashneem Ali Chaudhury writes exclusively for Bookaholicanonymous and we can't thank her enough. Keep writing Tashneem...we are looking forward to your new creation! 

Tashneem Ali Chaudhury is a journalist by profession. A published writer for various, reputed Indian magazines and newspapers, she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and watching movies in her spare time. Her first published work is a collection of short stories/flash fiction by Juggernaut. She has also written a second collection of Haiku poems.

On reading and writing

Writing and reading can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it was just another way of living. From the time when I was a child, sent away to boarding school at the age of three, I began to love reading books with a strong passion that I haven’t been able to exhibit for anything else. And thankfully, there was no social media then! Writing little notes, short poems, long letters (seven to ten pages!!); these are things that I have always done. I remember being more fascinated with pens, pencils and note pads, than I was with anything else. I always kept a diary; in fact, many diaries at every stage of my life, where I penned down everything that I didn’t want to talk about, to people. Don’t ask me why! In fact I loved the idea of secret diaries so much that I still indulge in this every once in a while.   

Today when I look back, I realise that what made me a reader and a writer, also made me into the person I am today. The freedom of imagination and the flights of fantasy that the world of books pushes one into makes our tribe very different from non-readers. And while I can’t say whether it gives one an edge over others; all I will vouch for is that a reader can better understand the pleasure of being alone with a book; without having people for company all the time. It helped me deal with misfortunes better in real life because reading became therapy; it helped me cope, in every single way. A mix of the dreamer and the realist is necessary to get by through life, as it happens to us.

There are so many memorable books that I have had the privilege of reading. My childhood, like any other, was dominated by Enid Blytons, Nancy Drews, etc., as I grew up, one of my maternal uncles would gift me and my brother folktales from Russia, stories of his idol Lenin, the Russian communist revolutionary and many more. It was in his treasure trove that I discovered my most loved book till date: ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith a popular American classic first published in 1943. During my teenage years, I devoured all the English classic novels; favourites being ‘The Wuthering Heights’, ‘Middlemarch’, ‘Jane Eyre’, etc., In college, life was all about John Donne, D H Lawrence, Milton., so studies never seemed boring to me, all because of my love for literature. In the later years, books of Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Yasunari Kawabata, Ian MacEwan, Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tim Krabbe, Raymond Carver, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie took over my life completely and transformed my thoughts with their brilliance.

Of course there were days and phases when I couldn't have dreamt of even glancing at a book, especially during my stint as a journalist with a leading daily for many years, when life was all about reporting live events, rushing through and meeting deadlines. But like a silent, loyal, devoted lover, my books, my writing waited for me to return. And I did! I have just published two eBooks; one, a collection of flash fiction, a genre that excites me for its all encompassing brevity and another on haiku, the Japanese form of poetry, that I have wanted to write for quite some time. Next on the agenda are a novella and another collection of flash fiction that has been languishing in my computer for years.

A very famous author said: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”  That was Stephen King. I’m a big fan.

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